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I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)
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So my work day started with two tenants coming in to say they'd locked themselves out of their bathroom, continued through twenty million leases to process, and ended with another tenant coming in literally one minute before closing to say they thought they had to fill out a form, maybe...? which was actually three forms, one of which I had to generate specially and then highlight the relevant sections because nobody ever fills it out correctly otherwise. *headdesk*

I mean, at least I will get paid for the extra twenty minutes I stayed? But holy gods, argh argh and above all, argh.

(The bathroom, incidentally, was an easy fix. All it takes is a judiciously applied paperclip! But I had to go apply the fix in person because apparently tenants are bad at comprehending verbal explanations at 9am when they really need to pee. (To be fair, I probably would be as well.))

...

On the bright side, I got a two-hour tax continuing education course finished before Mom Boss dumped the never-ending leases on me, so that's something.
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1. Yuletide nominations close in 6 hours. Get yours in!

I nominated the following fandoms:

-The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay - Ammar ibn Khairan, Jehane bet Ishak, Rodrigo Belmonte, Miranda Belmonte (this is my perennial request that never gets filled, dammit)

-Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire - Rocalisa Qox-Skolia, Jaibriol Qox III, Kelricson Garlin Valdoria Skolia, Dyhianna "Dehya" Selei (because I still want a story about Lisi)

-Daredevil (Comics) - Karen Page, Elektra Natchios, Kirsten McDuffie, Rebecca Blake (because even though I got two awesome stories about ladies in a previous Yuletide, I always want more)

I'm sure I will be able to find some other fandoms of my heart if I feel like making additional prompts, but those were the three I wanted to make absolutely sure were there, and contained the characters I want to request.

2. I have completed the hiring process for Not the IRS. Yay! (Also my base pay-rate is up from last year. Double yay!) Now I just need to complete my continuing education requirements, and take the test to jump up a level in the internal skill classification scheme. I mean, I have been doing level two and three returns since my first year -- they are not especially hard -- but the computer's auto-matching system doesn't suggest me as an option for anyone over level one, and also level two employees get a minor bonus per completed return in the totally-not-a-commission compensation scheme whereas level one employees get nothing. Hence test.

3. The rental company's renewal and switch period ended on Wednesday, and open rentals began Thursday morning. This week has been kind of crazy with tours -- I have not talked so much per day in months -- and we had people start lining up outside the office at 8:45am Wednesday morning. (We rent on a first-come first-serve basis, and lease commitments/payments must be completed in person.)

My paycheck this week was almost literally twice the usual, because I got a huge commission fee -- this happens when somebody I took on a tour rents an apartment I showed them, so opening day presumably went well. :D I also got an unspecified supplemental payment which may be a general "congrats on working here for a full year" bonus. Or maybe not; there was no explanation on the paystub. *hands* I was very surprised when I checked my bank balance this morning, but pleasantly so, and my budget will now be much less stressful over the next couple months. I might even be able to donate a little to charity!
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1. We have started apartment tours at the rental office: Wednesday was the first day, with three scheduled tours. (We do not have model apartments, so our tours go to occupied units and we therefore schedule them in advance so as to provide tenants with a day's warning.) Nobody showed up for the first tour, which was amusing since we have received phone and email inquiries about two-bedroom units. The second tour, for a four-bedroom unit, got about twelve people, and the third tour (a six-bedroom unit) got so many people we had to split into two groups when taking them in to the actual apartment. That is par for the course at this time of year -- the multi-person units go fastest because there are fewer of them, and some are much more desirable than others.

2. I had my appointment this morning and left with a one-month prescription for a Celexa generic (20mg dose per pill), which I picked up this afternoon while buying groceries. I will start taking the pills tonight with dinner. The nurse practitioner will call me to check up in two weeks, and we will do an in-person followup in a month. (That is not actually scheduled yet since the medical group hadn't created her schedule that far in advance -- she is apparently a newish hire so they haven't set a fixed pattern for her yet -- but the office will call me to set a date once they know her availability.)

3. This evening, pushing forward with my surge of "oh god please motivation again soon???" I FINALLY put in my Not the IRS applications -- one as a tax preparer and one as a receptionist -- so that process is now in motion.

4. Oh! And I got my official acceptance letter from TC3 a few days ago. So now I need to call the admissions office to see if there are any additional hoops I need to jump through, or if I can skip directly to setting up an appointment with a student success adviser to discuss the quickest way to complete an AA degree, because yay trained monkey papers. *wry*
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1. Called Vicky Saturday evening and talked about various things for a hour or two.

2. Changed linens.

3. Bought Susan's birthday present. I started by going to the Farmer's Market down at Steamboat Landing, but they didn't have anything that really jumped out at me. So I drove up the west shore of the lake to American Winery and bought her three types of specialty fudge. I am mostly neutral on Americana's wines -- a few each year are pretty good, most are okay, a few are emphatically not to my taste -- but I have never yet disliked any of their fudge varieties, so. I got her Maple Bacon Chocolate, Amaretto Chocolate Swirl, and Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry. :)

more items under the cut )

21. Susan's birthday celebration! We met at the G family house around 7pm, where Cat and I admired Susan's kitten (Abbie, a gray tabby with white socks and a bit of tan around her ankles) and Susan opened our gifts.

Then we went to Yuki Hana, a local sushi place, for dinner. We got three items to share: unagi don, orange dragon rolls, and ume-shiso rolls; before the main course, Susan and I each had miso soup and Cat had the complimentary salad that came with the unagi don. We declined desert, but received a plate with three watermelon slices apparently just because, which was unexpected but tasty. I had to preemptively take a Benadryl because of raw avocado and cucumber, but it was totally worth it. :)

After dinner, we returned to the G family house and chatted for a while before Susan suggested we try some of the fudge I'd gotten her. Rev. and Mrs. G were invited to join in, and the general consensus was that fudge is good. (This is not a terribly controversial conclusion, I feel. *wry*) We enlisted Rev. G to take pictures of the three of us before Cat had to bail (since she needed to get some sleep before driving to Pennsic on Monday), and I am very glad we were able to get together like that. :D

22. Finished the beta draft of "Intervention" (my WIP Big Bang fic) and sent it to beta. \o/

23. Drove back to Ithaca. I should mention at this point that on both the drive down and the drive up, I was listening to a lecture series on tape: The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes, by Prof. Kenneth W. Harl of Tulane, which is part of the Great Courses series. There are 36 lectures in total, two per CD, and I have gotten through 17 of them. (I started on lecture 3, since Mom and I listened to some of them on a previous car trip and while I couldn't remember exactly where we left off, I knew it was past the first CD.)

I don't know why I never tried listening to nonfiction audiobooks or audio lectures on car trips before. (I specify nonfiction because I find fiction audiobooks intensely distracting; the voices never quite match what's in my head, and also the pacing tends to be indefinably wrong.) But listening to lectures while driving uses one problem to solve another in the most beautiful way. First, the lectures help me stay alert and focused on the road in a way that I otherwise find difficult -- caffeine is not infallible, and music gets samey after a while -- because I have to be paying attention to what the lecturer is saying, and relating it to previous lectures and my own general understanding of world history. Second, driving is a visual/kinesthetic task that eats up enough of my concentration that I actually CAN pay attention to the audio input, which is something I otherwise find nearly impossible and have had to resort to sewing projects or coloring books in order to listen to occasional podcasts that I decided were important enough to make the effort.

Anyway, I think I can get at least one more round trip to NJ and back out of this lecture series -- and then probably down to NJ again -- but after that I need to look into my local library's audio offerings, because I didn't get drifty even once on this trip, and I promise you it's not because I'd gotten any more sleep than usual. *wry*

...

And that is that, and I really have to remember to make these posts more often because covering ten days at once is ridiculous.
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1. Texted Upstairs Neighbor E about leaving her family's seltzer cans in a box outside my door so I don't have to fish through the gross communal recycling bins to collect them. (Her family is not interested in returning them for the bottle deposits. I am.) She said yes, so I have put out a box.

2. Finished one transcript request for my application to TC3. Another one is in progress -- I just need to print, sign, and either fax or mail a document, which I intend to do on Tuesday (taking shameless advantage of the rental company's printer, and possibly also their fax machine). The third transcript request must be done via telephone, so that's a project for Monday.

3. Boiled four eggs.

4. Poked around the Not the IRS continuing education/re-certification website and signed up for an online course. No live in-person events seem to be scheduled for my area yet, but I will keep checking back periodically. (Hopefully district management will also send out an email about that by the end of July.)

5. Washed laundry. Dried laundry. Folded laundry. Put away laundry. Hung other laundry up to air-dry overnight. Laundry is serious business!

6. Changed linens.

7. Made a weekly to-do list and taped it to the wall over my computer, which is another new scheduling hack I am trying in addition to my daily to-do lists.

...

I am considering going to bed very early tonight. I am also considering making a bag of microwave popcorn (courtesy of a former tenant who has yet to cancel their mail-order snack service a month and a half after moving out) and watching Moana on Netflix. I am not yet sure which option will win.
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1. Survived tax season! \o/ My last day at Not the IRS was Monday, which I worked 9am-9pm. I finished the season with five returns still 'on hold,' only one of which was somebody I actually expected to come in to finish up. (The others either weren't required to file or made clear that they didn't intend to file through us for various reasons.) I think that's a pretty good record, all in all.

2. Photographed my plants and posted the pictures online.

3. Took my kitchen compost to the communal bin, and the communal bin to the curb for pickup. (It has not, in fact, been picked up. I am not wheeling the blasted thing back across the yard while it is still full and heavy, so it can just sit there until the compost company get their act together.)

4. Watered my houseplants.

5. Called my parents with some information that is relevant to planning their visit in a couple weeks.

6. Prepped for a graduate student housing fair thingy on Friday, which Miss Cactus and I are responsible for since Mom Boss and Aunt Boss (tentative nicknames) are both on vacation this week.

7. Went to the end-of-season dinner my Not the IRS office throws for ourselves every year, which was a lot of fun. We commandeer two tables at a local restaurant, order a bunch of appetizers to share around, and drink several pitchers of classic margaritas. :)

I also accidentally acquired a succulent, which I will attempt not to kill. See, it's tradition to buy a small nice gift for the manager and the receptionists, I doubled up as a tax preparer and a receptionist again this year, and one of the other receptionists didn't make it to the dinner... so I wound up with her gift (the plant) as well as my own (a pre-paid debit card). The plant itself is housed in a glass bowl with purple fake-amethysts for its 'ground,' and since amethyst is my birthstone, I am choosing to consider this a Sign of Favor from the universe at large. *wry*

8. Not really a 'thing done,' but I have ants in my kitchen again. *sigh* I have been squishing them when they get up onto the counters, but the ones on the wall and the baseboard I am mostly leaving alone for the poison in the little plastic traps (I always have four to eight ant traps on my counters and walls, because this happens every year) to kill slowly. I will have to buy some new traps on my next grocery run, though, because the poison does eventually get used up.
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1. Boiled a dozen eggs.

2. Took kitchen compost to the communal bin.

3. Attended Easter service at church, since it's an inter-generational celebration and I therefore had no youth group to facilitate.

4. Withdrew cash, half of which will go toward the Not the IRS office 'we survived tax season!!!' dinner this coming Thursday.

5. TOOK A NAP.

6. Changed linens.

7. Paid all my monthly bills: rent, health insurance, and both credit cards.

8. Un-potted my narcissus bulbs, which I will try to get replanted outside in the coming weeks. I then washed their saucers and the rocks I use to reduce water loss through the terracotta pots' drainage holes. I will wash the pots themselves later this week.

9. Punched holes in the four plastic storage tubs I am using as squash planters. This is pretty simple: all you need is a hammer and some kind of metal tool with a reasonably small point, e.g., a screwdriver. (Note: I did not actually use a screwdriver, because I have an unidentified metal doohickey I keep around specifically for when I need a punch-tool, but I think the point holds.) Anyway, you hold your punch-tool in an open flame for ten or fifteen seconds -- I used my stove burner, but I bet a candle flame would also work if you increased the heating time -- then set it onto the plastic and hit it a few times with the hammer until it punches through.

10. Transplanted four squash seedlings to their new homes, as gently as I could. (I used two large bags of potting soil, plus the old dirt from the narcissus pots, because why not.) Time will tell whether I managed to do this without irreparably damaging their roots... and if I didn't, well, I can always plant new seeds directly into the plastic tubs and try again. *wry*

11. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

12. Suffered my first allergy attack of the year, blargh. Spring is lovely and all, but I could really do without the pollen... *hoards eyedrops and Benadryl*
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So I was working on an alternate fill to my remaining mini-ficlet prompt meme request this morning at work, accidentally clicked the wrong link when I wanted to check a thing (the computer I was using at Not the IRS has an annoyingly unresponsive mouse, and often either fails to register a click or registers a right click as a left click or vice versa), and lost everything I'd written.

*headdesk*

However, I think that, upon reflection, I have found a way to fit the new concept into my existing fill attempt in a way that will make everything come out all right.

But I will work on that tomorrow morning rather than tonight, because today I have worked a 12.5 hour shift and have also just finished drinking a Black Russian and I am therefore both punch-drunk and tipsy and should probably not attempt delicate word surgery. *wry*

(You do not want to know how many times I had to backspace and retype things in the preceding paragraph. Or this paragraph, to be honest.)

But tomorrow I get to sleep in until the wonderfully decadent hour of 8am! So I should hopefully be compos mentis enough to finally get the dratted ficlet finished.

*resolve face*

*resolve face x20, actually*

And now, bed. :)
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1. Photographed my kitchen garden. Did not post photos, because reasons. At this point, I think I will just make a combined two-week post on Monday the 17th.

(Spoiler: a couple of the squash seedlings just shriveled up and died. This is nice since it saves me the trouble of figuring out what to do with them. Now I'm just debating whether my plastic storage tubs are larger enough to support two seedlings per tub, or whether I will have to buy a trowel and a hoe and plant the others in the yard.

...I should buy a trowel and some other tools anyway, since I will have to plant the narcissus bulbs regardless of what I do with the squash. *makes note on Sunday to-do list*)

2. Put away my remaining clean laundry.

3. Worked thirteen hours straight on Monday the 10th, ugh. *wilts*

4. Foolishly agreed to go in to Not the IRS at 8am instead of 9am Thursday morning (district management is getting pushy about extended hours), but because the #13 doesn't run a 7am outbound route, I had to walk a mile into town to catch a #30 bus instead, which meant I had to either get up at 5:30am or forego eating breakfast at home. I chose the latter option, and wound up buying myself a small yogurt, a bottle of lemon-flavored tea, and a donut (plus five more donuts for the office at large, because I'm nice like that and also you get a discount if you buy a half-dozen at a time). That was not the healthiest of choices but at this point in tax season I officially Do Not Care. It has calories and/or caffeine? GIMME.

5. Bought groceries after work. In the process, I acquired two small sample bottles of Ocean Spray 'mocktails' that were included around regular bottles of cranberry-pomegranate juice. I just wanted the juice, which was on a buy-one-get-one sale, but I suppose I will try these 'mocktails' if only for curiosity's sake.

6. Stewardship committee meeting.

7. Failed to make much progress on my remaining request ficlet, because brain-fry, argh.

8. Decided to try outlining/brainstorming my FandomTrumpsHate fic to see if switching projects would grant me a few minutes of clarity. Result: well... I made a bullet-point list of stuff my bidder and I talked about in emails, so I have all that organized in one place? But then I ran out of spoons, so.

...

I think I should go to bed.

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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